After the international hit, 3 Idiots, Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor collaborate once more in Talaash: The Answer Lies Within, demonstrating once again how the chemistry between actors is essential to the success of a film. It doesn’t matter what the theme of the story is, as long as the two come together, the film just flows.
Talaash is a crime mystery that delves into the world of criminal delinquencies lying within the streets of Mumbai. Aamir Khan plays Suri, a troubled inspector who begins investigating a freak car accident, a case that caused media frenzy throughout India. He eventually runs into an enigmatic, yet mesmerizing working girl, Rosie (Kareena Kapoor), who coyly provides clues that may help crack the case. After the loss of their son, Suri and Roshni (Rani Mukerji) grapple with their lives as husband and wife – Suri is sleepless with his penitence every night, while Roshni searches for an alternative answer to ease her pain.
Delving into the corners of Kamathipura, Mumbai’s oldest red-light district, Talaash exposes the gaudy region with the infamous psychedelic lamps symbolic of the eroticism of prostitution. It plays with contradictions such as naïve and innocent love flourishing within this area of lewdness. What is fascinating is that the story unfolds within these titillating depths whilst simultaneously being a very nonsexual depiction. It confronts the hypocrisies in the laws against prostitution and thrashes out the welfare issues regarding the members of the oldest profession – If a working girl disappears, no one will care because prostitution ‘does not exist’, and it does not because it is illegal.
The story explores superstitions and the overcoming of grief as well. Inspector-father, Suri goes through nights of self-blame believing his son’s death was due to his own negligence. While brooding over his need to find an answer to the mysterious case, his relationship with Rosie seems to provide catharsis. On the other hand, Roshni gambles with clairvoyance in attempt to search for his son in the nether world, which causes strains in her and Suri’s marriage. Regarding this aspect, the story is expressive in its unique non-verbal ways in conveying sentiment and substance to the audience.
Talaash is not particularly memorable and could be comparable to the likes of many crime/noir fictions. Moreover, the supernatural themes were slightly off-putting. This unconventional story may not leave every audience member content, but it paces itself well for a Hindi film that only runs for 139 minutes. Reema Kagti does an amazing job in keeping Talaash easy to watch, and is definitely one that can appeal to a wide audience across continents. Despite being a dark film, there are moments of humour that help peter out the miserable nuances throughout.